• British Gas average dual fuel bill expected to be around £90 lower this year than 2013
• Significantly improved customer service, and further investment through 300 new jobs in customer contact centres
• Hive Active Heating™ from British Gas continues to lead the market in remote heating controls
• One million Smart Meters now installed in customers' homes
• British Gas continues to invest in innovation, with trials underway of Smart Meters for Pay As You Go Energy™ customers, allowing them to top up on the move from a mobile phone and online
British Gas has announced that it expects the average household energy bill to be £90 lower in 2014 due to milder weather and improved energy efficiency measures, assuming normal weather for the remainder of the year.
On the day that its parent company Centrica PLC announced interim results for the first half of the year, British Gas also highlighted a raft of industry-leading innovations.
Customer numbers stabilised, with significantly improved customer service
Despite intense competition in the market, particularly from smaller suppliers – many of whom benefit from a cost advantage because they are exempt from social and environmental obligations – today's results show the number of British Gas energy customers was broadly stable over the second quarter of 2014.
British Gas is continuing its drive for customer service excellence: 300 new jobs were recently announced in customer contact centres, and the company has also seen a significant rise in customer satisfaction.
Delivering strategic priorities of great service and innovation for customers
Hive Active Heating™ from British Gas continues to be the UK market leader in remote heating controls, with 100,000 smart thermostat products now sold, allowing customers to control their heating and hot water from a mobile phone and tablet.
An extended trial of "time-of-use" tariffs was launched in July 2014, laying the ground for Smart Meter customers to be offered free electricity on Saturdays or Sundays. In addition, we are testing a new smart prepayment meter for Pay As You Go Energy™ customers for launch in 2015, which will extend the benefits of innovation fully to our pay-as-you-go customers, as well as those currently paying on credit. Pay as you go customers will be able to top up on the move from a mobile phone, online, or from home.
A new billing system in British Gas Business is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2014, delivering cost savings and improved billing and customer service.
"Connected Boiler" enables faults to be remotely diagnosed
A new Connected Boiler, which is currently being tested by British Gas, could mark a significant step forward in improving the service British Gas can offer to customers. This technology allows the performance of customers' boilers to be monitored remotely, and faults to be diagnosed ahead of an engineer visit, enabling more repairs to be completed on a single call.
Chris Weston, Managing Director of British Gas, said:
"We set out clear priorities for British Gas last year, with a focus on innovation and service excellence for customers, and I am pleased to see strong progress in these areas.
"We have seen substantial improvements this year in customer satisfaction and will continue the drive for outstanding customer service. Our Hive Active Heating product, which allows you to control your heating and hot water remotely, is proving exceptionally popular with customers. There's more to come as we lead the way in innovating to help customers understand and manage their energy usage, and keep bills as low as possible.
"We're pleased that our competitive products and improved service have helped stabilised customer numbers. In this very competitive energy market, we are now well positioned for growth in the future."
Please watch the video below to hear Chris Weston, Managing Director of British Gas, discussing the results.
The key British Gas results for the half year ended 30 June 2014 were: